Steven Naismith has told PLZ Soccer that it would not surprise him to see Leigh Griffiths return to Hibernian this summer from Celtic, as the striker continues to struggle for both game time and momentum at Parkhead.
Griffiths, 30, has managed just nine starts throughout 2020-21 after a difficult couple of seasons in which off-the-pitch issues have prevented him from being a regular feature at Celtic. He has played 21 times in total this season, scoring just six goals.
The 22-time Scotland international is in the final year of his contract and while Celtic do have the option of another year, they might not activate it – even if the likes of Odsonne Edouard and Albian Ajeti are allowed to leave the club.
Ex-Rangers man Naismith says he would not be surprised to see Griffiths return to Hibernian, a club where he clocked up 38 goals in 78 games – as well as laying on 17 assists. It remains to be seen if Celtic would require a fee for his services.
“If you are a goalscorer, there is always a demand for you,” Naismith said. “I think he will have his options. The one thing that will go against him is the amount of football he has missed over the last two seasons. For him, there is so much riding on it.
“Being out of contract or whatever the situation may be in the summer, he has got to understand that a lot is riding on the summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went to Hibs, if that was a deal that could be done – if he became a free agent.”
TBR’s view – Hibernian and Griffiths makes sense, but wages?
Griffiths is likely to be on a big pay packet at Celtic and while the details of that are unknown, could – and should – Hibs really look to alter their wage structure to bring a player in Griffiths to Easter Road, given that he is a massive risk?
A gamble, Griffiths would be an excellent addition for Hibs if he can return to his best form – but that is a big ask. Even if he is only operating at 70% of his best, he would be Hibs best striker. But it is getting the required level out of him.